Cox Vineyards Update: 2016 Harvest

Grape harvest is well underway at Cox Vineyards and in order to stay on schedule, picking has occurred every day this week. Mid-week, I checked in with my realtor-sister Whitney (you can find her real estate website here), who helps my dad and his team with harvest each year, to get the Cox Vineyards updates, as well as my dad.

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Dawn on Jack’s Ridge, the block of cabernet that is named after my late-grandfather Jack L. Cox. You can see my hometown, Ukiah, in the distance.

Work began at 3 AM Wednesday morning with one load (10 tanks worth of grapes) going out before noon, and two loads of cabernet to go to Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley later that day. Tonight, more loads of cabernet will be picked and delivered to Jordan. The Wednesday load has only be fermenting at the winery for a few days, but the winemakers report that it is smelling amazing.

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Cabernet grapes

Other grapes picked this week include chardonnay (delivered to Frey Vineyards and Sutter Home) and sauvignon blanc (delivered to Kathryn Kennedy Winery); picking for both of these varietals have been completed for the harvest season.

Merlot is on the schedule for next week, and the first load will go to Sutter Home. Normally cabernet is last, but it’s looking like zinfandel and petit sirah will be last to be picked this harvest year.

As mentioned in the previous Cox Vineyards Update, which you can find here, hand picking happens during the day, while machine picking typically occurs when the sun goes down. However, when there’s a particular rush to get several tons out to the wineries, the team machine-picks throughout the day and into the night, as seen below.

Whitney noted how machine-picking this vineyard can be a little scary because it’s steep terrain, often requiring that the tractor help pull the machine in certain trouble spots. However, Jack’s Ridge has the most spectacular view of all the vineyards on the ranch, overlooking the Ukiah valley and the adjacent mountains. Needless to say, it makes for a lovely place to work.

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Photos courtesy of Whitney and Chuck Vau

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